- pcb007 Magazine
Getting to Know Your Designer
In this issue, we examine how fabs work with their design customers, educating them on the critical elements of fabrication needed to be successful, as well as the many tradeoffs involved. How well do you really know your customer? What makes for a closer, more synchronized working relationship?
In this issue, the biggest names in PCB manufacturing share their economic outlook for the upcoming year and beyond. As you will see, they were all bullish on our industry, but there was some apprehension as well. No one wants to get burned by another the supply chain disruption.
- Events||| MENU
- pcb007 Magazine
Amitron Progressing Toward a Factory 5.0 FutureDecember 1, 2023 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Aidan Salvi, chief transformation officer, updates Nolan Johnson on the modernization activity under way at Amitron. Aidan shares that Amitron has added 62 different pieces of new equipment on their production floor, and shares details on what that means for Amitron’s production capabilities, data management, and progress toward a Factory 5.0 future.
Nolan Johnson: Hi, this is Nolan Johnson for I-Connect007, and I'm speaking right now with Aidan Salvi. He's the chief transformation officer at Amazon, Aiden, welcome.
Aidan Salvi: Thank you, Nolan. Great to be here.
Johnson: Aidan, we spoke a number of months back, so catch us up on what's happening at Amitron.
Salvi: Well, Nolan, it's been a very exciting 2023, I have to tell you that. First and foremost, we did a lot of soul searching, you can call it, in terms of figuring out what type of equipment we wanted to upgrade our facility with, and we decided on 62 pieces of equipment. Yeah, you heard the number—62.
Johnson: Wow, 62. That's a lot of equipment.
Salvi: Yeah, it definitely is. It took us a long time to research what we needed and what the industry needed to get us to where our technology curve was.
Johnson: What parts of the fabrication process did you concentrate on with that much equipment?
Salvi: In its entirety, we really addressed most parts of the facility. But there's a couple areas that we felt were very critical for the future of Amitron, and the future where technology is taking us. All of that stems around the idea of registration, trying to find the art of registration. How do we get tighter line widths and space, and how do we get into HDI technology? A lot of our equipment lays in the area of LDI, or direct imaging, optical inspection systems, to maintain better quality, increase our yields, lay up in our lamination process. That's another big area that we wanted to focus on. And then also, X-ray— you can call it drilling and post lamination/registration. That really supports our capability to facilitate sequential lam, and just higher technology overall.
Johnson: Aidan, one of the most common sources for yield issues in PCB fabrication is registration, which can be pretty holistic. Sounds like you've touched a number of pieces. What's the primary motivation there? Is it technology, capabilities, or volume?
Salvi: It's a great question. You know, for us, we look at things holistically. At the end of the day, we've got to look at global supply chain, and for me, it's about making sure that our unit costs are the best we can make it. So, automation, of course, has been a critical component of our equipment strategy. On top of that, it's really understanding how we can build a better process. That's going to lead into a lot of what Factory 5.0 is, it's about building printed circuit boards with more data, it's about bringing in the AI component to it, so that we can compute and process real time data from our equipment, and make data driven decisions. It's really about bringing that vision component as well—again, optical inspection. Once we're getting into the line width and space and the micron level technology, it doesn't become an equation of the visual lie. It becomes an equation of optical data sensing solutions, which then can help us interpret data in more of an AI feedback loop process. That's really where our thoughts are for driving the technology into the future.
Johnson: Are you seeing an ROI against registration at this point?
Salvi: Well, it's a little bit too soon to tell. I think we're still putting the pieces together. It will take time to get the overall Factory 5.0 system in place. At that point, in time, we'll be able to better understand what our overall ROI looks like. I feel confident that we will be able to see the ROI we're expecting or better.
Johnson: I'm sensing in this conversation that for you, Factory 5.0 and registration improvements, while they're two separate things they seem to be sort of hand in glove?
Salvi: Well, not necessarily. I think Factory 5.0 is really more holistic. It encompasses what we've been working on, which has been data integration with our equipment. It's been data warehousing, it's been looking at upgrading our ERP systems, so that we have a better system and flow through the facility. We'd like to call it a Factory 5.0 operating system, and how do we drive that all so that we can create greater traceability along the whole supply chain? Those are the things that we've been really working on. Registration is a key component from a technology standpoint, but Factory 5.0 is really overarching.
Johnson: With these 62 pieces of equipment rolling into your factory now, have you achieved your vision for Factory 5.0?
Salvi: We have not. It's step one into a much broader series of actions that need to be really taken to get to our overall goal.
Johnson: What's next?
Salvi: Well, a lot of things, but the next thing on our horizon that we see in the near future is really bringing the procedures, the people, and the training together. Now that we've started to have equipment that is very technology driven, automation systems, it's bringing the systems and processes, upscaling the workforce, things like partnering with universities to develop course curriculums. The challenging things that we need to focus on so that our workforce is now able to operate the equipment and to understand the new processes that we've developed.
Johnson: Processes, people, and training.
Johnson: Well, this sounds like a lot of development, a lot of evolution at Amitron, and some very exciting times.
Salvi: I think it will be. There's still lots to do with Factory 5.0, but we've done a lot in 2023. We're closing our year strong, and we're excited to see the changes and hope to share more of what we're going to be doing in 2024.
Johnson: Aidan Salvi, thank you for taking the time to speak with me today.
Salvi: Well, thank you, Nolan for having me on board.
Johnson: Here for I-Connect007, I'm Nolan Johnson. We've been speaking with Aiden Salvi, the chief transformation officer at Amitron. Thanks for listening.